Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tis the Season: All Hallows Eve

This is something that you probably already know all about, but I find it interesting and even a bit Spiritual in nature. So, what-the-heck let's give it a try.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Our Halloween is of course a weird mixture of many things, but is based mostly on the Olde "cross-calendar" feast of Samhuinn. The "Celtic Calendar" cross feasts of Samhuinn, Belteinne, Lughnasadh, and Imbolc were at least as important as the Solstices and Equinoxes. This feast which is upon us, was originally the greater part of a month long, and celebrated the end of the harvest [the original thanksgiving for the bounty of the Earth goddess] and the bringing down of the sheep and cattle to their barns. The fairies were about to unleash their cold breath over the plants and the land so that the old would die to prepare the Earth for the new to come. People today see this feast as a Druid-thing and to some degree it probably was. But the Druids certainly just incorporated the Olde Nature Religion of the people into more formalized rituals. One prominent place for this was Tara, the sacred precinct of the Irish kings. Each year on Samhuinn they and their Druids oversaw the ceremony of the extinguishing of the Fire [all hearth fires were supposed to be snuffed and re-lit from a bondfire created out of offerings to the male god who impregnated the Earth goddess so she brought forth such bounty--the fires were then re-lit by carrying fire house-to-house]. The ceremony of the Fire was widespread and led to people reveling in jumping through the fire for whatever spiritual or wild-craziness motivated them to do so. The Church naturally saw this as a bad thing [probably without thinking about it much, it was "pagan" afterall] and forbad it. Unless some bishop happened to be around, everyone seems to have continued to do it anyway. As a Catholic, I applaud their "disobedience" in this as long as they didn't hurt themselves. The bottomline is that Olde Samhuinn is/was a Fire festival, a fertility/harvest festival, and an acknowledgement that tough cold times were coming.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
What/Who exactly was being noted as central to their concerns was the "Male Principle" god--the "Horned god" and yes that's where the expression comes from. Just remember Mother Earth Nature was equally interested in their intimacies as well. But the horned god had a limited run on the planet surface and each year at Samhuinn had to impregnate the Earth Mother [that part of it he probably thought was OK ], and then go to hell--well, the "Netherworld" anyway. As against charges that he was just another guy who "loved them and left them", he probably would defend himself by noting that Hell was no plush assignment and anyway he had no choice in the matter. The point for Samhuinn was that this removal of the "Male Principle" god opened the doors to the Netherworld for a while, and the spirits of the dead were more available to communicate with the living. This led in places to the family ritual of the "dumb supper", where places were set at table for recently deceased ancestors, and living family would spend the meal telling memories of them. It was also a time when it was unusually dangerous to be outside at night, as the gods and the fairies were "nearer" then and not in particularly friendly moods.So, all sorts of wild-and woolies might be out-and-about on those nights.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It is not certain just how our modern mutation of Samhuinn began--that of everyone dressing up in costumes. Some think that the "custom" was a stick-on from the Roman "Let's-get-down-and-crazy-festival" called Saturnalia. Since Halloween survived as an echo of Pagan times when essentially nothing else did, it seems our disobedient resistance glued many things together to shove it at constricted Victorianism--and that included taking on other personas in order to free up our naughtiness. Well, I've seen college Halloween parties and Saturn had nothing on them. Another glue-on that had an easy link has been the lighted Pumpkin. There's a charming folktale, quite late in time, which describes how a lazy, misbehaving bum so continuously outsmarts the Devil that He won't even let him into Hell. St. Peter won't let him in either. The Devil gives him a lantern by which he plods the dark forever--Jack-O'Lantern. Pumpkins were carved allegedly to commemorate the story---Well, it has to be more complicated than that as, in Europe, where there were no Pumpkins, they carved little faces into "turnips" [almost had to be Rutabagas] and put lights in them. Some think this was in honor of the Sun [Who was in full retreat at Samhuinn and was associated with the "Male Principle"]. Jack-O"Lantern then became used for Will-o-the-Wisp and pixy mischief makers, who you did well to avoid on Samhuinn. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
As important as Samhuinn was on the Celtic calendar, I am surprised that there is almost no mention of "Samhuinn lines" in the archaeoastronomy literature about British megaliths. In fact, I'm SO surpised by this that I HAVE to be wrong, and, as usual, this is just another ignorance on my part. Still, the only specific reference to a Samhuinn orientation in a megalith that has come across my eyeballs is the one at Castlerigg [a picture of which is on the very first blog, due to some mysterious, doubtless elf-associated, influence]. A very prominent stone circle [not in size but in significance] is at Boscawen-un in Cornwall. As far back as folk memory goes it has been a main site of celebratory Druidical activities. It is a flattened circle with a bulge giving it a symmetry plane down the middle and a major axis of sorts at right angles to this plane. The direction of that axis looks suspiciously like it points to a Samhuinn sunrise, but I'm not there with a surveyor and compass. It's a wild guess, but what else is life about?----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
These circles were [by some "wilder-than-me" theorists], set up to REALLY give you a good celebratory time. They see the circles as being able to concentrate "Earth energy" sort of like a "Psychic condenser" and store it for potential tapping by "Druids-in-the-know". The energies were fed into the circles by nearby erect standing stones. NOTE: the following is X-rated. The erect stones were the "Male Principle" at work and, yes, the phallus shape is deliberate. The circle is the "Female Principle" and takes this energy from the male and makes something out of it. What it makes is an environment "pregnant" with psychic power. This is why the circles were the sites of wild dancing. {Stonehenge was called the Giant's Dance}. A troop of Druids or a Coven would do the serpent or dragon's dance, weaving and interleaving through the stones, activating the powers stored within until they achieved some altered state of consciousness, perhaps communicating with Spirits and the Dead. These energies were only available at certain times of the calendar---Samhuinn? Well, we can't have any of THAT behavior! [actually it might be a bit dangerous if you "called up" the wrong dude, and if Ouija is correct, there are plenty--so, I guess it's no serpent-dancing for me].---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Well, that's my partial trip through the mysteries of Samhuinn--hope it was at least a bit entertaining even if not very illuminating. Above are three more circles where I think there might be dedicated sun-lines for Samhuinn. The top left one, the Merry Maidens in Cornwall, is even about a bunch of disobedient young ladies who danced the stones on the Sabbath, and were turned to stone themselves. Not very nice, I think, and my GOD sure wouldn't do that. I'm betting on the Devil or Jack-O'Lantern. By the way, this post turns out to be about UFOs after all. Just think of it: "Swamp Gas"= "Jack-O"Lantern"="fairy BOL mischief"--Hynek was right about his explanation for Dexter/Hillsdale afterall!!!! [by accident]. Now THAT's a theory weird enough to go straight on to the internet!.... Oh, wait, I just did. Have fun folks, and don't let Black Shuck or the Cat Sidhe get you.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How Long Is A UFO ?

Most UFOlogists, if they wanted to, would probably say something like "the most common description of a UFO is a disk about 20 to 30 feet in diameter." Given all the obvious caveats, that would be a reasonable answer, and then you could go on to talk about how there really isn't much of a pattern in it. In fact there isn't much of a pattern in anything regarding UFOs. To my reading of the field, it seems like there has been a "deliberate" avoidance of any strong pattern over these 60 years, and that has served to make the denial of the phenomenon, on a consensus culture basis, easy. Since I believe that this is deliberate [that is, a "policy" of culture impacting covertness within an agenda of witness-impacting overtness], I am not sanguine about the odds on us discovering these hard-wired patterns that many UFOlogists have sought as the "holy grail". But, one wonders if there are not much subtler patterns, or at least "fingerprints" of the agenda operators which can be found. This post is about a rare case of such a find, I believe. The "long" in the title will refer not to the expected definition, but to the length of the UFO experience---yeh, I know, unnecessarily "cute".----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The finding was by one of our rare UFOlogy geniuses, Dr. Claude Poher , French physicist. Poher believed, as did David Saunders and Jacques Vallee, that a broad statistical survey of UFO cases, trying all manner of variables by intuition and by trial-and-error, might uncover something that the one-step-at-a-time mind would not. He plotted 858 cases [508 judged UFOs and 350 judged IFOs] as to how long the reported experience took place. The graph's at the right. To me it's astounding. To Allen Hynek it was astounding. The "UFOs" and the "IFOs" are so distinct that it seems a powerful piece of data that they are not the same phenomenon. It doesn't "prove" what UFOs are, but it does seem to say that UFOs are mysteries--we have no mundane reason to suspect that they are "ordinary" misidentified things. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hynek and others "in the know" on this were interested if the result could be repeated with other data. The first attempt at this at the Center failed. I believe that it is obvious why it failed, and the analyst responsible shall remain nameless. Suffice it to say that the selection of data for the stats was biassed by an evaluatory "style". [others are free to disagree, but it's my blog...but, in seriousness, folks, the cases that went into the statistics were so, in my mind, debunker-like classified, that many, many UFOs were contaminating the IFO pile--thus destroying the distinction Poher found]. A more objective [again my evaluation] was performed later by Fred Merritt, a long-time Hynek associate. Using an early form of UFOCAT [developed largely by Saunders and Vallee], Merritt broke down the cases by his definition of "strangeness". Categories were numbered 1 through 9. All these were allegedly "unknowns" so, in the following analysis by me, there is no IFO component to compare them with. But, in my opinion, two things make that nearly a non-problem. One, we have an IFO selection from Poher and since we know what IFOs are and that Poher's sample covered lots of that spectrum, that graph probably stands as a true reflection of what IFOs are about. Two, Merritt's categories included two which are probably largely IFOs anyway---#1:stationary or slow-moving lights at distance; and#2: rapidly moving lights with no directional change at distance. Field researchers will recognize the likelihood of stars and planets et al in 1, and meteors and planes in 2, etc. When he plotted his graphs of UFO categories vs. time of observation, types #1 and #2 were the only ones that looked like Poher's IFOs graph [#2 being the left side of the graph, and #1 the right side. On the graph "CUFOS 1" above, note that when we get to something really like a UFO [#3= lights making definite turns], we get the Poher time zone phenomenon re-emerge.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Merritt went forward with his graphs of higher strangeness cases. The graph on the right ["CUFOS 2"] shows the times of observation of the categories #4: multiples discontinuities of motion---#5: close encounters of the first kind, plus certain types of CE2s---#6: landings. I now have deja-vu bogglement a la Poher's original finding. All three of these UFO case types act as each other on this criterion, and none act like the IFOs act. On top of this, The Poher time zone for UFO "operations" is very close to the same. [the time frame is about one-to-fifteen minutes---Poher used a graph with an X-axis that "stretched faster" as you went forward and so did Merritt, but they did not use the exact same units---I've done what I could here to give you a good rendition---"close enough for government work as my Dad would say"]. I have not plotted Merritt's #s 7,8,9. All three of these also have the Poher zone phenomenon. But all three also have a "peculiar" feature. #7 [CE3s] has a high wing of cases where the witness says they witnessed something for only a brief period of time---this is rife for "IFO-ism" of course. #8 ["communication"] has a wing where the reporter says that a long time was spent "communicating". I have my prejudices on that, I'm afraid---were the mini-Adamskis of the world screened out? #9 [abductions] also has this long time experience wing---decide on that as you must. These cases also had less numbers [30-to-90] than say the types in the CUFOS2 graph [>400-to-1700]. If "contactees" and abductees are real in mass quantities, then they should show a curve breaking longer experience time. If they are not real, then they, at least some of them, are IFOs. However you look at it Poher and Merritt seem to have found and checked a robust statistical pattern that shows that UFOs and IFOs are different. But if my intuition about the agenda-setters being careful about NOT giving us any patterns, how could this be? I think that this aspect of what they do was just so subtly embedded in their methods of display that they didn't even focus on it. It is like a football team with "tendencies". They don't even realize that they have them until someone else examines and exploits them. So, maybe these topside jerks aren't all-knowing-all-powerful-all-perfect afterall. Maybe, if we're as smart as Claude Poher, we might find out some things despite them. Fortunately, they won't bother reading this blog, so this is our secret.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Strangeness: can you make any sense out of it?

Almost by definition, we can't make sense out of "strangeness". It's exactly because it doesn't make complete sense that it's "strange". But we probably would do well to at least think a little about it, because it is the core of what we love: Anomalies. I am going to try to mumble about a bit about the concept and relate it to how I have seen the UFO phenomenon develop over the years.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A very long time ago [early 1950s], Allen Hynek and Project Blue Book were trying to do a little better job at classifying UFO cases [this was an OK idea that didn't go anywhere by the way], and invented a " C/Sigma" graph, putting witness credibility on the Y-axis and "Strangeness" on the X-axis. Hynek felt that this might help with trying to more objectively sort out "unknowns". I've drawn my own version to the left. It differs from Hynek's in that it includes a person's subjective biasses. There's a "blue zone" below where our estimation of a person's low credibility convinces us to believe nothing he says whatsoever. There's a "red zone" on the right, where due to our most important beliefs or our unexamined prejudices about things that "just go too far" for us, we will not believe no matter who is telling us about them. It's in the "white zone" that we might be able to operate more or less "objectively". The graph speaks to me in that it brings to mind that there are people who are more suspicious and nervous [and have a larger blue zone], and there are people who have stronger prejudices about wider topics [and have a larger red zone. People who like anomalies have a broad white zone, but csicopians have a small one. The point is that all of us have a heavy dose of subjective non-empirical biasses and our "open playing fields" are not the same. Of course, it's even worse than this, as some of our "constrictors" are merely do to ignorance and bad information, and these are more easily broadened than the emotional ones. So our old friend Allen was trying to be a scientist in a non-scientific world, but good for him anyway. What, if anything, did we learn about UFOs thinking this way?-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I don't think that we learned very much, despite Allen thinking that we did. Somewhere, even published perhaps, there was a graph by Allen in which he suggested that the evidence showed that, counterintuitively, the credibility of the witness did not go down as the strangeness of the claim went up, but, rather, it was the other way. In my opinion he was only half right. My experience reading the cases is that you have similar mixes of witness credibility no matter the level of strangeness. And, this is what I would expect if the phenomenon were objectively real and not dependent on some human factor. But the idea of Strangeness gives me a few other thoughts which are so half-baked as to get a loud CAVEAT EMPTOR!. Whereas "strangeness" is easy to define as something which does not yet fit with available knowledge, it is maybe impossible to "quantify" strangeness even in rough ways [what constitutes "high strangeness" for instance?]. Nevertheless, we do it in UFOlogy all the time, rating a vehicle stop at higher sigma than a hovering disk. Entities, of course, are really high sigma, regardless of the near necessity that some intelligence is intimately involved with most of these cases. The graph above is not exactly a strangeness graph, but it is based on types of UFO cases often rated as higher or lower in strangeness. The graph is mine. It's based on my "numbers" of counted cases of various types, but is not drawn to any number scale, but to bring out distinctions. It is what I think our UFO experience might look like when seen through one lens. I see that experience changing in marked ways. Era One [WW2 to 1964] is an era some would call "low strangeness". It appears to the military to be like themselves--and so it appears to me, as well. By that I mean, it looks exactly like aerial technology of a type beyond our ability to manufacture. It is, to all appearances, non-terrestrial technology. SIGN believed that; Fournet believed that; Keyhoe and NICAP believed that; McDonald believed that---and they had darned good reasons to do so. UFOlogists who want a simple life [and therefore no excessive strangeness] would like to pretend that nothing went on after 1964 and typically continue to "live" there. But even for the strangeness fans though, this era IS the foundationstone of UFOlogy and must be "honored" by not conveniently being forgotten either. It DOES point to a likely ETH "solution" and people need to admit that and quit smirking at ETH-ers as if they were cretins. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Era Two then showed up. It was spectacular; moreso than any other. It was the age of close encounters of the second kind [plus "old-fashioned" CE3s where they weren't "abducting" people left right and center]. In these years, UFOlogy had a chance to get real physical data about the phenomenon on a regular basis, and, frankly, blew it. Landing traces galore; electrical effects on cars and other devices; physiological effects on witnesses and animals; even some mass-displacements--all the second-level research [labs et al] that one wants today and can no longer get. From 1965 to 1978 it was rampant. Then...nothing. We have played hob trying to get these sorts of cases since. This, by the way, is another reason to see the phenomenon as real beyond the subjective minds of the reporters. Why "they" decided to give us this shot, and why they decided to take it away, is probably something we'll never know [although I have a totally unbaked idea that I'll keep to myself--knowing how intolerant some of my "colleagues" in this business are]. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Era Three followed. Still plenty of UFOs around, but now they were more distant or at least not leaving any calling cards. CE3s morphed into CE4s [maybe] and became very "private" forms of UFOlogy. There were claims of "calling cards" here, but I've waited years for one responsible [and impressive] scientific piece of evidence. These beyond-imagining claims, exciting in the extreme, have been more a source of complete let-downs to me than anything in UFO history. To my way of viewing facts, 99% of these claims have been empty. I am ready to change at the presentation of the next one.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------There have been two "moments" in the chart's history which, to me, are unique. I'm calling them "punctuation points". The first is the late 1954 wave. It has none of the feel of the era it is embedded in. It is, rather than technologists flying about on high, more like a jail-break of the insane. If some leprechaun came to me and told me that Puck and his Bogles had decided to boggle the ET-ers minds with a big show, I'd at least listen to him. The second punctuation was 1957. The feel of this thing IS like technologists. It's like a thin sharp experiment to see...what? Whatever it was about, I'm sure we failed the test. In fact, it feels to me that we've failed ALL these tests [at least as societies].------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Just for fun, here are a few "strange" things, strange beyond Era One type strangeness anyway. They do not at all feel like "of the same piece" as far as type of technology or, perhaps even of type of entity. Left top is a road encounter. A friend of mine is the ace researcher on this one. I'll not go into detail on any of these--just a remark. This case featured what seems to me to have no necessary link to ET-technologists flying about at all. The phenomenology has a frightened looking "faun" [?] encased in a "bubble" manifesting near the driver in the car. ET? Magonia? ----Right top has what to me seems to be a hi-tech water vessel of some sort, plowing through the waves complete with "ripples" breaking at the prow. Flying Saucers? or some "blundered interface" from far,far,away?----Left middle is a diving suited character [totally immobile] floating just above the head of one of the two witnesses like aimless capsule from where? Tau Ceti? Zorganst-of-the-extraterrestrial-garage? Imitative Fairyland?----Right center has a half-sphere techno-bubble appearing in the park in front of two people and then "dissolving" before their eyes. Yeh, that's normal. But normal where? An ET screw-up, or a modernized Fairy Circle?----Bottom left has a case investigated by one of the all-time important UFOlogists, Dr. Claude Poher. It has floating "devils" in and out of a glowing BOL. Poher was impressed. So am I. But by what? ET or not ET? THAT is the question. ----Bottom right has the sort of thing all of us see everyday: half-men suspended in the air carrying cargo to a glowing BOL. If that is not some kind of blundered intrusion, then....well....bbbbbbbbbbbb.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------So, what am I claiming today? I can claim authoritatively that I don't know what I'm talking about [but would prefer it if you didn't make a big thing about it--you know, peaceful retirement and all]. I can also claim a high personal quotient of strangeness even if I can't define it. And one last point: my own case files have an idiosyncratically collected file cabinet drawer full of cases I label high-strangeness [ex. cut-off light beams is one of the subcategories] . When you tote them up calendar-wise, THEY fall into the Era Two period preferentially [markedly] also. What were those guys "up there" doing?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

At the Crossing of Two Lines...

I apologize to anyone coming to the blog today looking for wonders. This is a day to return to Earth. No anomalies. Just nomalies.
The title refers to the Native American saying "that at the crossing of two lines, there lies Magic". That's not anomalies; that's all of life. My worldline...your worldline...we cross. There is the moment when Magic can happen. Today, it is "just" life...just Magic.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This morning was blessedly normal. Sitting on my chair in front of my home and watching the worldlines pass by while saying morning prayers. My unambitious middle-class neighborhood is still the prettiest place I've ever lived, and the flora make it so, while the fauna seem to agree with me. A great hawk is circling the sky seeking. I know what it is seeking and I forgive it. It's just trying to live and what it's about to do isn't personal. A small Titmouse is screeching as it bangs its head into the garage overhang, holding a berry tight in its beak, and not knowing why this is happening. It's been feasting on those berries I'll bet, and they're late in the year and fermented. The Titmouse is drunk. Well, it thought it got what it was seeking, too. A squirrel comes by with a walnut in its mouth. It decides to bury it next to my peace sign. It runs off, only to return 6o seconds later, looking for the nut. It can't find it. Around the yard it goes and glory be, it digs out a different one. Now a second squirrel shows up and the first, nut still firmly clenched, attacks the second and runs it off. This nut is MINE, and off it runs to its home tree and happily gnaws away. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Whereas the animals are grasping, the trees are releasing. A maple down the street has decided that this is the big day. It is showering its leaves to the ground...magic there, I think. My paper birch isn't quite ready yet. But when GOD gives a mightier gust, it treats me to a rain of gold. Across the street, the tree I call "the Rusher" [because its topknot leaves look like an entity in a hurry] is in no rush to do the same. Two days ago, it treated me to a single magnificent crimson leaf-fall, like a lazy Cardinal, drifting, floating, displaying maybe just for me. Even GOD's strong wind this day was not enough to convince the Rusher that it was time. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Two distant dwellers of this neighborhood, persons I don't know, jog by separately. I look, hoping they'll turn their head so I can say hello..good morning. They plunge flatly on. No crossing of the magic for them. It reminded me of the wonderful Henri Nouwen, who spoke in his own way about crossing lines. He said that all of us have lives that we define in certain ways. Those "definitions" become in our minds who we are. They become our "agenda". He then said an amazing thing: The quality of our lives..the quality of our not defined by our agendas, but rather by how we respond to the interruptions. Interruptions are all about line-crossing and possible Magic. Agendas are all about "me". I think about that,a lot, when contemplating the things I "pursue". When they and the line-crossings collide, will I do the right thing? Fixation on Anomalies is like that, you know. Along comes another human. This is the cute, perky letter-carrier for the neighborhood. She gives me her sunshine smile and my mail, and genuinely wishes me a good day. And off she bounces to the next house. She isn't living a life of great adventure, but she is doing the best with the life she has. I felt the Magic anyway.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------So here's the mail. The Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy wants me to give a little money. Thinking of the Hawk, the Squirrels, the drunken Titmouse, even the children that the letter carrier may have, I guess I will. Out on the street, a Jack drives by in his pick-up truck, going hunting for a nut. Sealed away in his glass and steel, there'll be no line-crossing for him, or at least I hope not. As I continue to sit there, rationalizing that it's OK for my one-year-on-the-sunny-side-of-seventy body to do so, there is one last crossing before going in to work on the big UFO book. The chocolate box [UPS] pulls up. A great big box for me--how neat! Inside I find 48 rolls of 100% post-consumer waste toilet tissue. I'm not sure what Carl Jung would say about this, but I'm pretty sure Henri Nouwen would approve. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
What crossed my worldline today? A seeker Hawk, a drunken Titmouse, an aggressive and somewhat bone-headed Squirrel, people seeking no interruptions, and one welcoming it. And so, on your worldline path, what tried to make Magic with you? I think that many good things made their little "magicks' with me, and I tried to let them. What else am I seeking? GOD was there in so many ways. Haven't I already found it? But now it's back to the box of toilet paper, and a bit of an unpacking and storing job. Ah, the joys of a life well-lived! HAH.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

ABSMs: ALL? or Nothing?

While I admired the thought processes of Dr. Krantz and the type of evidence that he preferred, I began worrying about whether we were dealing with biology here [sort of like the concern with the Loch Ness Monster]. As I noticed some of the distribution maps of ABSM sightings in North America, some seemed unlikely in the extreme. If one feels oneself being driven away from the "biological" solution, then one is staring at two rather different paths: Nonsense vs. Spectacularly Anomalistic. That choice revived an old memory. When I was studying for my PhD at Case Tech, I had a friend studying for his at the across-the-sidewalk school Western Reserve. Bill Baker was a world-class lunatic and a capital hoot. He was also the producer of the major talk show in Cleveland, the Allen Douglas Show. Bill would talk me into, every year on April Fools Day, to go on the show. He was Dr. Wilhelm Van Der Roe and I was Dr. Heinrich Hertz. Operating out of our plush laboratories in Pepper Pike, we had invented such wonders as lightning bolt collectors, the electric banana, and a micro-sound probe that could detect the speeches of past presidents trapped in their easy chairs. To note that some listeners obviously believed us, says much about the potential quality of some of our case reporters. Well, he also talked me into going on TV to speak "as an expert" about a report of bigfoot in downtown Cleveland. With a 20-year-old sportcoat, a too-thin tie with a tight obsessively uptight knot, and a disheveled hair-combing, I was decidedly over-the-top and undoubtedly set cryptozoology in Cleveland back several ice ages. [this was by-the-way my only foray into such misbehavior as shortly thereafter I grew up and began taking things way too seriously]. The point here is that it was never very likely that the big fellow in the news story saw a biological bigfoot in downtown Cleveland, and I'd bet a fair sum that he saw nothing at all. The little map above shows many unlikely spots for roaming cryptoapes of the Krantzian kind to be walking about. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
That sort of thinking, of course, drives one towards the "nonsense" theory. But I didn't want to go there too quickly, even though in my shallow studies I didn't have the quality of witness that I "liked" [such as I had at Loch Ness with Father Carruth and Alexander Campbell et al]. The tales of Sasquatch which were resonating with me were the tales of the Native Americans. Some of these seemed like old folklore [like the Windigo] to scare kids into not roaming off alone in the woods, but others had that spiritual or at least uncanny element to them that hints of something more significant. Sasquatch was in the Mythos of the Haida and Kwakiutl etc. just like the Wasgo had been, but with a difference. They had spoken of the Wasgo as belonging to the concrete world, but the Sasquatch [even though a land dweller] as part of the group of powerful animal-spirits linked to the ocean--sort of like another reality from which they and their power emanated. These were the real spirit-gods and, I believe that trickster gods like Raven [or coyote, further south] were denizens of that realm as well. So, we're on the edge of All-the-Way-Fool again.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I just sat that all aside. I was no expert, and obviously didn't know what I was talking about. I tried, poorly, to keep a little track--weird ideas would come up, and plenty of hoaxes and people going so far as to threaten and punch out others at meetings [and we thought we had it bad in UFOlogy!]--and then I began to notice Bigfoot creeping into UFOlogy. Well, NOT welcome, not welcome at all. Along came encounters reports, most of them having no UFO around but some did. I was impressed by the pretty blonde girl and her mother, driving along, when a hairy white-furred "ape" reached into their car, jostling her and banging into her eye with the resultant bruise in the picture. Since this was two-witness and report-to-cops, it was the type of report that I like. But Michigan? As time went by, some people were claiming that Michigan was becoming a Bigfoot garden spot. Hmmm. Maybe. But not Biology in the Krantzian mode. But IF not, and if the pretty girl and her mom were honest [how can you not trust a pretty girl and her mom?], then what in or out of the world were we dealing with?-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
According to my "guts', ABSMs and UFOs are not supposed to mix. I had been aware that an Indiana UFOlogist, Don Worley, had collected several such cases, but ignored it. Then, I found that another UFOlogist, Stan Gordon of Pennsylvania, had a whole Flap's worth of ABSMs on his hands. Gordon was, and is [due to his work at trying to find the answer as to what went on when the military retrieved a large object at Kecksburg, Pennsylvania in the 60s] well known. Still the cases felt "wrong" to me. The creatures were right out of Halloween or Transylvania--absolutely NOT Krantzian--and more like big hairy goblins than biology either here or "out there". But could this sort of case be honestly ignored? Actually, I don't know the answer to that. I know that the fact that footprints were found which violate normal mammalian anatomy [three-toes, a la running dinosaurs] doesn't sit well with me. But if the witnesses, some multiples, are good then what am I to say? A good friend once said that he was conclusively convinced that ABSM-type entities co-exist with UFO reports. A researcher in Australia once made a whole catalog of them. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Creepy is the word for these sorts of UFO encounters [if such they are] and frankly "creepy" is not the norm. "Creepy" has more typified matters of the paranormal "nature" entities than UFO CE3s. But UFO researchers field these things. One of our best, Bill Chalker, looked into a 1975 multiple-witness case in Tailem Bend, South Australia where the "Yowie" [Ozzy's ABSM] was striding down the road carrying a lantern. In 1973, two teenage girls in Beaver County PA reported an 7+ foot tall white-haired ABSM carrying a lighted sphere. John Timmerman got a report from a military man of a 9-footer with dark hair simply disappearing, leaving no traces in the snow. None of these particular cases had a direct connection to a UFO. Now I've got too big a pile of encounters to prefer the "Nonsense" hypothesis. But I have all sorts of things which don't fit the Krantzian biology either. Oh brother, it looks like All-the-Way-Fool. But what sort of fool? Am I in Magonia or Alpha Centauri? Despite the occasional UFO or UFO-like connection, the ETH for these things doesn't fit well---unless they're "games" of some kind, in which case my civilization-type-two amoralists are scaring people, literally for the fun of it. If it's Magonian activity, then they're about their imitative mischief-making again. It would be nicer if these clowns would make this a little easier. With that last thought in mind, I leave the last word to the famous cryptozoologist, Fats Waller, in the last picture collage.

Monday, October 19, 2009

ABSMs: Conservative vs. Liberal Speculations

My studies don't make me much of a cryptozoologist [Henry will probably stand and applaud at that] but a blog is a facilitator of electronic megalomania, so off I go again to make a fool out of myself. At least this is not "All-the-Way-Fool" on this post--but, be warned, that is coming in the next one. Also, I want to say that I'm trying to not only present the same-old-same-old in these posts so that maybe there will be a little novelty here. Well, for better or worse, let's give ABSMs a try. First, the "name": I'm using ABSMs to refer to any big "mystery ape". The letters, of course, originally were short for the Abominable Snowman. I like "yeti" or "almas" better for those alleged Asian critters, and "sasquatch" (bigfoot) for the North American. So we can use ABSMs for the larger class of cryptids. When I heard about ABSMs, I thought, you know that has a chance of being real. We've had "old creatures" known from the fossil records, some of them like the Neanderthals even of recent existence, which might match some of these witness descriptions if there were still relict populations hidden away, and we have old traditions, even in Europe [with the "wildmen"], that might indicate survival into historical times. The chimpanzee seemed pretty ABSM-like until we got a better look, and these mysteries seem worldwide [I once found a carving from Costa Rica of an "ape" the anthropologists admitted that they couldn't identify--looking, for the cognoscente, eerily like "Loy's Ape"]. Well, good. Maybe a solvable mystery, and solvable on the side of "romance". ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My first semi-conservative stop was with the claims for an Asian Giant. It actually seemed like a no-brainer. Were there not old encyclopedias from the Chinese area, at least one of the 19th century and one of the 18th, which pictured the wildman of the mountains, and thus pushed the claims back beyond our media world of sarcasm and blunt liars? And were there not large areas of sufficiently unexplored miles [not just the Himalayas, but also places like the south-western chinese rhododendron forests, where relict populations of wonderful things might well survive? [The latter is the place where some romantics would locate the "country" of Shamballa or Shangri-La by the way---I might write something just for fun on that someday, which none of us need take seriously--but, as one of my brothers says "You never know".] Yeti seemed to have some reasonable witness testimony--not huge amounts, but forgivable given the environment of the snow-mountains. A few prints were about, the most distinct and interesting being the Shipton print at the right. Still, the subject didn't seem to be going anywhere. Then people began claiming that they had hair samples of the Yeti and I thought, now we'll know.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The first hair-samples of the yeti were probably those things brought out and tested by Sir Edmund Hilary [who was from the beginning a complete skeptic]. Perhaps he had a right to be. The most spectacular claim was a sacred object in a temple claimed to be the skull-cap of a Yeti. It wasn't. It was the dyed fur of a Himalayan ungulate [an antelope, I think--I'm being lazy and not looking the detail up], and quite the disappointment. Hilary bashed many Yeti-ish things, and was a major conservative statement all around. But decades later other "hair" samples showed up. The one pictured above [ the previous collage, lower right--look up--a generally good practise anyway; might see a UFO some day--then tell me about it] was from Nepal and was claimed to have been torn from the chest of a Yeti by a terrified villager. Off it was to go to an expert lab, and we would know. I "stole" a picture of the thing as it circulated at the meeting, and waited for the promised analysis to be published. I never saw it. Maybe it was...but if it was really something of note, where the heck are the trumpets? Two other well-placed and credentialed scientists went to central-western China in search of a ABSMal golden ape, allegedly found great things including unidentifiable hair. Well, great. Where's a full scientific description of all the tests and forensic background on the conclusions? "Work" in these matters seems only to go so far and then happily return to the speculative couch [we have the same thing in UFOlogy; even more maddening in that it is so much more frequent]. Time has not expunged the possible reality of an Asian ABSM from my mind, but it certainly has disappointed me.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
What about North America? Again, optimism. It was an optimism driven by one guy basically: Dr. Grover Krantz, a physical anthropologist from Washington State University. Dr. Krantz both spoke like a scientist and as a human being, a rare combination. His thoughts were sensible whether you wanted to buy them or not. I generally was buying. He had added a "feasibilty" argument to the usual data of footprints et al, by pointing out that there had once been a very big ape, of Sasquatch size, walking the Earth in our past. Could there still be a cluster of Gigantopithecus like beings plodding about in the unpopulous areas of the Pacific Northwest and Canada? Hmmm. Why really not? Diane Fossey's gorillas live in far less land area in east-central Africa, and you could get "on the other side of the bush" from them and still not see them directly. Plus Krantz emphasized special evidence from the prints that he felt was unusual---and I did too. These were things like how the "Bossburg Cripple's" foot broke--not like ours would but like that of a 600-800 pounder. And how on a rare set of prints from very fine sandy mud, you could see "dermoglyphs" [fingerprint ridges]; certainly one of the harder working hoaxes if that is what it was. He sent me copies of many of these things, so I could look at them myself--all true, as he said. [I still have those casts by the way if anyone wants them and can figure out how to get them without costing me money or too much hassle]. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My amateurish blunderings on this topic confronted me with things like the Minnesota Iceman [very unconvincing thing on many fronts] and other alleged pictures. Shades of UFOlogy, they were all "uncomfortable" if not instant rejects. Even the supposed siege gun of the pop side of the field--the Patterson film--never gave me any feeling of confidence. It was because the "thing" when it turned to look at the cameraman, turned its top half rigidly unlike an organic dynamic torso. OK--maybe like me it had a bad lower back disk, but I'm not comfortable at all with that thing no matter if you can defeat the magician's story [from the Carolinas] that he created the suit. But one or many hoaxes do not debunk an entire mystery, and I soldiered on. I plotted the PNW [crudely, alright, give me a break, it wasn't my field] and colored in the higher populated areas [ in yellow to the right]. [the really low populated areas are on there too, though harder to distinguish--when I did this thirty years ago I didn't precognition putting this on a blog--THAT would have been a far greater Fortean event]. Given my map, I wondered if the encounters would favor low population areas [the hypothesis for a real, physical, biological, secretive animal]. So I gave it a try. It seemed to "work". Not perfectly, but not bad. Gee, maybe Grover was right and, although I didn't like his planned solution, maybe one day he'd blow away a bigfoot with his "elephant gun" and haul the carcass back to the WSU anthro labs, ending the debate once and for all. That of course never happened. As time ground on, my feelings about ABSMs began getting less confident about a biological entity and instead were splitting to the extremes of non-existence and All-the-Way-Fool. I still wonder about the Bossburg Cripple and the Dermoglyphs, but in the next post [GOD-willing] maybe we can take a little trip to Whack-Land and see if Magonia is striking again.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


This post, given its subject matter, would be right next to nuts [some would say well within nuts] if it stood alone. I will not blame people who still believe that it's nuts, but, for me, the topic is far from a stand-alone reason-glitch. An earlier post indicated why I, as a researcher habituated towards the valuing of witness testimony, read several, to me, impressive works which described a great deal of this. Particularly important was Evans-Wentz' Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries. The possibility of the existence of such entities as described comes from his and several other encounter-type works. I have had no personal experience [maybe] with the "mischief-making" Middle Kingdom entities, so my belief in the possibility of this relies on less direct information than some of the topics of previous posts. But let me float one experience that I absolutely trust which may have something to do with this. In my big family I have a complete set of orderly minds, but one of my sisters is particularly so. She's not obsessive, just very disciplined. She likes to keep her house that way as much as possible---and of course with others involved it's a bit of a losing battle. Still, there are areas of her life where she knows exactly what's going on. Two of those orderly areas are her closet and her dresser drawers. As I say, not out of obsessiveness but just out of "why not?", she keeps things in conveniently findable places. Well, it seems that "somebody" thinks that's funny and likes to mess around. She will go to her closet to get the piece of clothing that she knows is "right in that spot". And sometimes it's not. As an orderly person who likes answers [as well as the piece of clothing] she'll then go on an item-by-item hunt through the entire location, only giving up after 2 or 3 full tries. Then it's off to places like the laundry room in the understandable suspicion that she had forgotten that she washed it recently and forgot to put it back. Nothing. Returning hours later [or less] to the closet--no one else in the house--there will be the piece of clothing, not only in the closet, but dead center in the closet, right where she thought it should have been in the first place. Well, it's up to you to dream up how this happened, but the one non-viable option is that she's nuts and can't see something right in front of her face. Oddnesses such as this have happened many more times than once in that house, always on the same theme. If you cruise the internet, you will find an uncountable number of anecdotes just like this. Mischief-making.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Of course, candidates for who the Mischief-Makers are abound in our past cultural memories, even if we have tried to forget them. Puck, with his "puckish" mischief, Will-o-the-Wisp, "pixy-leading" unwary wanderers astray, gremlins, elves, and leprechauns having their, generally harmless fun. A good friend told me that his mother when she was a child had pixy-like visitations in her mother's room, when her strict mother would give her the modern equivalent of "time out". Little men would appear and gambol about on some shelf ledge near the ceiling. They would dance, somersault, laugh, and generally be entertaining. These characters wore green clothes and were about a foot or slightly more high. The child's laughter brought in the mother and her disapproval of the un-understandable levity and laughter [of the child]. Once gone the little men returned and started up again. The girl begged them to leave before her mother returned and was angry. They replied that if they left they would never return. The girl said please go. The mother heard her daughter talking to "no one" and re-entered. The little men were gone but had left the high shelf, which the little 8-year-old girl could not reach, in disarray. Climbing up to the shelf, the mother found that her hat box containing her best hat had been stoved in. The girl was spanked for this, even though she could not reach the shelf nor the box. Mischief, mischief, mischief. Stories like this are all over the place. One more: Ron Quinn was in upper New York state doing a radio interview [probably about UFOs] when he was asked about any personal encounters. He said that he had a "little person" encounter instead. This produced a flurry of call-ins from people saying that they had such encounters also, but never told others because, till then, they didn't think anyone would listen to them without laughing. Quinn with the cooperation of the station was able to interview the callers and this resulted in a rare book on modern US Little People incidents. One of these is more or less in our theme. 1949--a farmer was approaching his chicken coop when he heard a ruckus inside. Inside the chickens were excited and even some feathers were flying around. As there was nothing else he gathered eggs and left. The following days saw a small decrease in the number of eggs he expected. Thinking perhaps they were being stolen by a rodent or something, he found that there was a loose board in the coop's wall. Using heavy stones, he made a makeshift block so that the board couldn't be moved. Nevertheless when he returned they were moved. He proceeded to set traps. About a week later, upon entering the coop, he was stunned to see two small men [one foot high] carrying two eggs each and running for the loose board. One was startled enough that he dropped one of his eggs and broke it. His wife thought he was nuts when he told the story, as, other than his wild excitement, all that could be found was the abandoned cracked egg. The thieves apparently never returned.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Such stories began to interest me due to what seemed to me [and still seems] to be a ridiculous diversity of alleged "occupants" involved in UFO cases coming in the door, many of which seemed to have no UFO involved at all. I thought that it would be smart to look into other sorts of entity encounters and see if they cast any light on the UFO mysteries. Well, light is hard to come by in this business, but reading the other encounters made my intuition that UFO case files are actually the repository of several different things, seem more believable. Certain "UFO" stories seemed pretty "good", but not like UFOs to me. On the left, Rosa Dainelli's CE3 seems like a classic Mischief-Maker case. The Rowley Regis case seems like winged fairies or pixies in both form and behavior. The Case of the Kelly-Hopkinsville glowing/can't-shoot-me harassers seems like goblins. How much of this material "pollutes", but interestingly so, the UFOlogy case records, who can say? But it might be far more than UFOlogists would like to entertain [let's face it, ONE such case is more than most UFOlogists want to entertain.]-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Alongside are three more examples which illustrate things uncomfortably in the twilight zone between core UFO aerial technology and magical folk entity manifestations. We have hairy dwarves in metal spheres in Venezuela. We have a jewel-like structure with an enigmatic entity standing in the forest in Gerena, Spain. We have a little see-through blue-electric being happily smiling at the door of a trailer home in Albany, Ohio. UFOlogy? Not obvious to me. I have come to believe that my case files contain encounters from many different sources, all of which are "not respectable" as far as "commonsense consensus reality" is concerned. My files are in worse shape than I thought---filled with several kinds of ETs, Mischief-Makers, and probably an unquiet spirit or two. Can I sort them out? I'm not confident. Still, why would you want your world to be less rather than more interesting? Oh, by the way, my own [really weak] possible mischief-maker experience: back in the days of the "Walnut Trees" experience posted earlier, I got up one day dressed and went for a long walk. Unusually, my foot began to hurt a great deal, high on the ball of the big toe. Limping back home, I took off shoe and sock and there was a large hard kernel of corn almost embedded in the foot. How this had gotten into my shoe,sock,and all the way up to my toe I couldn't easily figure out. The socks were thick, the shoe tightly had to be in there already when I put them on, and inside the sock. I scoured the back yard where I'd been the previous day looking for that sort of corn that some people put out hoping to attract ducks or other big birds--nothing. I decided that I'd have to leave it as a mystery, and probably a mundane one, but a thought kept nagging. Grandma used to call those hard painful growths on the balls of your feet "corns". A mischievous joke? A little levity from our friends? Well, who knows?----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------P.S. folks, these posts have been fun for me on almost all levels, but the unexpected workload is exorbitant. I can't do it everyday--plus I'm not smart enough anyway. I'm going to cut back. Maybe every other day to begin. We'll see what I can manage. GOD bless and may the mischief-makers go easy on you.

Friday, October 16, 2009

What Will They Be Like?:Pure of Heart (and Data) Speculations

We don't have very substantial direct information as to what such ET-visitors would be (or are) like, despite what my friends in "abductions research" would have us believe---I suppose that I'll have to write something about that sometime, though I don't relish it. This is the last of this series of posts on possible natures of ET, and is by far the most "distant" from science---but since I've already put much of the earlier things into publication here and there, in a way this is why I wrote those others as a lead-in anyway. Those previous posts are all similar in content and attitude to the mainline convergent biological and SETI-type literatures, and I believe you can view them as at least responsible commentaries and not quackery. This one may be less defensible, but what the H___, it's a blog. I am going to try to guess about some important things about highly advanced civilizations. Take them for what they're worth to you. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Any such civilization, if it's still going, must have somehow found ways to be sustainable---dependable, voluminous, high-quality energy source---sufficient materials base (probably utilized with near-perfect cycling)---and, among other things, social order and personal health. The physical elements of their systems will be so far cleverer and advanced than ours that these ideas that people throw out that "they're" coming here for our supplies [in anything] seems to me to be preposterous. A space-faring society that has learned to control its population and mine asteroids or create sun-surrounding Dyson Spheres--or whatever wonders far beyond those--isn't going to need our water or our meat. But they will have had to control themselves. Futurists see a "moment" looming that in many ways for our civilization is more dangerous than nuclear bombs, mid-east crises, global climate change, and the like. It is the growing ability of the "everyday Joe" to acquire technology that gives him destructive power. Since all Joes aren't "good", and in fact some are even sociopaths, some Joes will decide to use that power in a "disorderly manner". As the power gets larger and larger, the resultant disorder follows. If some increase in "morality" and good citizenship can not outrace this ability to acquire power, then it is likely that the systems of order and production cannot maintain consistent integrity in the face of these assaults, and advance will not occur [or worse]. Any highly advanced civilization has dealt with this crisis point somehow. Whether it's possible that some of them are latently good enough that their Joes choose to do this, or whether the State has had to exercise some kind of Iron Hand, each of us can decide what we feel about the odds. Depending upon which path they took, it probably says something about who any visitor really is and what social orientation is represented. How do you imagine WE will handle this, by the way? We're right on top of that situation as we speak.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Another thing that is not devoid of a kind of believable information involves the direction of societal priorities regarding health. We want it. They will want it. Nothing is more terrifying nor awesome than Death. We don't [even given our religions] want it. They won't want it. We don't want sickness nor pain either. Neither will they. The difference between us is that they'll have already made it happen. Nothing has been so universally driving [research-wise] than health care research. We're going to "get there" [total disease conquest; no cancer; no circulatory problems; no dementia; no aging]. Aging will be the last obstacle to go, but it will go. It will have gone a long time ago for "them". They will not be "immortals" but they will be able to continue their lives until they have a catastrophic accident or they choose to end them themselves. This puts a lot more on the line in terms of what you decide to risk as you go about whatever you choose to occupy your days with. Some psychologists feel that such "indefinitely long lifespans" would markedly lower risk-taking in such a culture. Would they find means to just "lie-in-state" and experience their "reality" by mere brain-linked inputs safely away from the physical action? Or would they while away the endless hours playing in elaborate "private" environments designed not to include life-threatening risks?----or whatever other fantastic solutions they produce to solve the entertainment-without-death requirements? There is the rub with indefinitely-long life. How to stay interested in "getting up in the morning" and facing the same day you've faced thousands of times before. [I know several friends who've said: yes, but I'd still like to try it for a few hundred years.]--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I believe that the previous could have something to do with UFOlogy and even religion. Again, I'm not claiming anything--just thinking. A long ultimately-boring life might need a big universe to maintain its interest. Going out there and seeing what you can see might be all you have left after you've "scienced" out your world from quarks to Higgs Bosons to Quantum and everyone understands the "Theory-of-Everything". Seeing what we other clowns are doing out there may be all that's left. Maybe they'd go in person, if the full zest was not really translated by direct cerebral communication, or maybe they just send their technology with the required "vicarious appreciation" sensorium [or video-game-implants-on steroids]. "Whoever" got off the "craft" or wiggled out of the "window" might be them--might be their surrogates. What are they searching for? Because I believe that spiritual questions will to some degree occupy all civilizations [particularly in their pasts], I also believe that these, so-called "Big", questions [death/afterlife; GOD; Soul; Freedom of will; even Middle reality/Magonia ] will be the only ones that they still have no answers for. Although individuals can differ, the general tenor of such a civilization will be, just by logical completeness, that they have decided that they know enough to have a confident vision of a spiritual reality and theology about things [with attendant morality guides], or they will have decided that its all bunkum, and there is nothing spiritual, just materialist reductionism [with its attendant values], or that they still don't know, but would like at least to see what other worlds think and maybe still learn. Civilization type one [the Spiritualists] would probably act differently on a visit than civilization type two [the Materialists]. Civilization type three would view the observed species a third way. All would be probably equally powerful at that stage and not wanting to mess with one another if it could possibly be avoided. There'd be an "understanding" between them. And because they all have motivation to "see', I believe that it is not ridiculous to imagine that all three types are "here" and elsewhere as well. One last point: Type one will not likely want to interfere with us on moral grounds---nothing is more significant in the moral view of reality than free choice. Making choices for us cancels the whole reason for existence. Type three civilizations will not want to interfere with us either---their whole hope is that we might come up with novel things that might lead to understandings they don't have. Inserting their own ideas or even manipulations, ruins their chance and makes us more like what they already know. Type two civilizations may, surprisingly not want to really interfere either. They in their "grab for whatever gusto you can get" non-morality still need us to be "different" and therefore "diverting". They might well want to "get-inside-some-of-our-heads" and vicariously live our lives and emotions , but not bend the whole culture toward something that they're thinking about, not us. They already thought their thoughts hundreds of times. This "analysis" [such as it is] surprised me--I certainly didn't go into it, way back when, thinking that I'd feel that none of these super-civilizations would have it in their interests to be markedly interfering nor manipulative. And, that they might keep one another in check, particularly the type twos, from being any more intrusive than the whole group wanted. The ideas are void of data, that's right. I do not assume the truth of any of this--please, I beg you, don't claim that I do. I look at them as intriguing, however, because they would explain why over 60 years we have never had a "landing on the White House lawn" and why a percentage of us claim that one sort of ET is repetitively scaring the hell out of them, or otherwise messing with their emotions, and never leaving any testable clues behind. No. I'm NOT sure of any of this. It's all in my "gray basket"--no pun intended. Also, on the matter of what they're trying to learn. Who says it's about us? What if part of it anyway is about the "other entities" that they lost touch with long ago but we still encounter here? I'll bet the Middle Kingdomers are messing with them just like they mess with us.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What Will They Be Like?: The Face

There is one spectacular element of our human form that hasn't been directly addressed: our face and its distinctive pattern. This is a bit shorter than the humanoid form stuff [hurrah] and folks looking for longer detailed treatments of any of these matters really should go to the convergent evolution literature and check "me" out. I've done the best I could on a topic of interest but not my area of concentration. Read Morris [see last post] as a superb start.
Well, the face. All of us advanced Earthian life forms seem to not only have one, but it's eerily similar. It seems you look like a dog--no offense so do I [although unkind people have emphasized that more than I feel necessary.] Our facial patterns are the same at a fairly high level of generalization as regards symmetry, top-bottom placement of organs [relative to one another], numbers of organs, and functions. We have a single tube entry point, naturally for a predatory tube. Then we have other sensory organs bilaterally arrayed [also naturally for a predatory tube]. Those organs are specialized for the inputs that they should be. The light collectors are prominent. So are the vibration collectors. Two types of chemical collectors exist. There are very few other force options, and Mother Nature has either ignored them [remember Risk-vs-Reward], or applies our sensory apparatus to them in subtler ways. We do not seem to sense either of the nuclear forces. We sense Gravity only crudely [as to its existence as a gross general attraction] or more subtly for reasons like balance. There seems no use for an externally positioned special organ. Whether we sense magnetic fields is controversial. Some Organisms appear to do so. In each case the sensing mechanisms are internal. [remember this is a post mostly about the face]. Electric fields are in a similar situation. Unless such fields existed in an environment tied somehow to survival, there would be no need for dedicated external organs anywhere. But light, vibration [sound], and chemicals: yes and everywhere. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The positioning of these organs on the face is not arbitrary. The input orifice of the tube is central and is, as the focus, the only non-bilaterally-symmetric feature. For the vast majority of eco-styles, there are no other sensitive structures below the mouth. As the tube bumps, slides, scuttles along the ground, the area below is the source of constant collisions and possible damages. It's also where most of the other trouble can be run into: dangerous small things which don't really want to be eaten as an example. Eyes want to be "up" anyway, to take in the most potential useful information. You want to be able to see things coming and not have lunch bite your eye off---sorry but there's not a lot better way of saying it. The chemical receptors need to be placed as close to the mouth as possible. They'll hopefully help you not "eat something you wish you hadn't". Parking the nose directly over the mouth is the winning design feature and the taste buds are even IN the mouth. This leaves the ears. They can move up and down or get big or small depending on who knows what, and this is a clue that such diversity is probably to be expected when ET shows up. "Face" yes; "features" with variable sizes and slightly different positioning, also yes. Why "two"? Bilateral symmetry demands the even number and then the Risks-vs-Rewards kicks in. Especially for big beasts, the energy, materials, and maintenance required for big organs is a significant survival issue. Even moreso is the risk of injury and death in another vital spot. We can't make an equation for Mother Nature's calculation on this . We only know that She did it with big animals every time. There's a college biology course worth more on these things, but that's a flavor as to why I believe that the humanoid face will be the norm. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The similarities among advanced life forms do not presume identity. An identical form would be very suspicious [as far as independent evolution] indeed. That's why Sagan said what he said to me about the Face-on-Mars. There are many areas where such differences should be expected. Size is one. ET should have some respectable size [some folks have tried to calculate the needed volume for a fully-intelligent and otherwise normally-functioning brain and have decided that about a softball size is a decent guess.] I don't think we know enough on this yet [note those rare individuals whose brain seems to have "condensed" along the inner skull surface] but intuition says that sparrow-sized ETs are too small--and if we're playing a liklihood game, at least not ones first choice. Note that on our planet, a typical chimp is far smaller than most adult human males, but in raw strength it is no contest. Even with varying gravitational upbringings, the rough size of ET must have quite a diversity. One thing that I believe is unlikely to be featured on our visitors is any structure that had some function that was replaceable by intelligent technology or other think-it-out behavior. Horns, tusks, thick hair [for the bugs to nest in], and excrescences of all kinds. I feel that over all those early millennia of intelligent adaptation, the intelligent forms will shuck off the relatively useless and become pretty structurally "clean". For that reason there are a few UFO cases that I view very suspiciously as having nothing to do with evolved ET life assuming that they were real in the first place, and one "wave" [the hairy dwarves of Venezuela] that seem more like folkloric mischief makers than advanced ET. But my eyes are still open.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A few bits just for fun...the hand...what a brilliant thing. Note that you've got one strength function built in [finger curl-up grasp with the force directed perfectly up/down the arm] and one fine manipulation function with the opposable digit. Is our hand forced? I don't think so. But whatever manipulative forelimb ET has, it better be able to do those two jobs. At a minimum the number of digits could be different ---but not too different too few = no function; too many loses the risks/rewards game. Note also how beautifully and relaxedly your arms swing up ending with your hands in perfect position to protect your eyes [same thing down below by the way]. Such matters probably force certain height to arm section ratios to be forced. Note that you have only two arm sections plus the hand--your limbs are not articulated with large numbers of parts. The three you have is good. You can cover each of the three dimensions of space by angling your "pieces" accordingly if you must in a task. More is not enough better to be honored by the game. The most common structural element in planetary life is known as the "fiber-wound cylinder". It allows flexible things to bend and yet at the same time be strong and resist compression. Physically, you can calculate the precise angle which should maximize these features. That is the exact angle of the winding that Nature uses and has evolved several times. Scientists have measured how strong the bones of mammals are [all sizes of mammals]. And animal behavioral observers can measure the kinds of activities that those animals face in their normal lives. Mother Nature has designed the mammals not only with bones which can handle those stresses but She has put in a safety factor. It is the exact same safety factor. [about a factor of three redundancy ]. No more; no less. Many things will be different with ET; many will be the same. Structurally, many things will have to have met the survival challenges posed by the laws of nature regardless of where they live. Other variations within these themes will be possible and doubtless plentiful. And when it comes to technology specifics, there will surely be "no juke boxes on Jupiter".

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What Will They Be Like?: Humanoid Form

When modern biologists go to war in Kansas in defense of the evolutionary theory, it is, weirdly, the same war that they fight against UFOlogists. More weirdly still, they are, in the end, correct in Kansas and wrong in the Galaxy. How in the world can that be ? Supporters of Darwin's theory are, not always [but pretty close to always when you count only the highly vocal ones], adamantly opposed to GOD, religion, and any concept of "Design". They have been afraid of these ideas entering into evolutionary biology for the entire 20th century and beyond. Despite my own Catholicism, in this they are generally right [i.e. one's religion has no place in the science classroom]. In my, and Catholic theology in general, there is no conflict between a brilliant theory and the idea that this is how GOD made the world to function. But the "evolutionists" have their paranoias, and this has caused them to misrepresent "their" theory to its detriment, and in a small way to UFOlogy's too. These highly educated paranoids have been so frightened that GOD will somehow creep into the laboratory that they have deemphasized half of Darwin's ideas. The half they almost whackily emphasize is the half which speaks of nature throwing up random unpredictable variations or traits. This, they erroneously then go on, means that nothing is predictable in biology and you're going to get all manner of weird stuff--therefore don't expect any hint that there might be a "design" in any of this. They have no faith in their own theory. The other half says, equally importantly, that random traits when they arise are going to be severely tested by the environment, and the losers are going to, well, lose. The environment is the "regulator" here. It, the physics of it, the chemistry of it, the mere geometry of it, will demand that most things "lose" and only certain things win. I'll mention why this causes them problems in Kansas later--what about UFOlogy?-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The universe at a very high probability is full of life--evolved life. Some of that life may come here or we may go to visit there. What are they going to look like? The details are a bit open, though some of them not as open as you'd think. But the general plan [of a land-developing, fire-making, technology-creating species] is pretty rigidly controlled by the physics, chemistry, and geometry that all of us face. In the pictures along the right, intelligent beings fixed in place are not at all likely---they have little use for high intelligence in a limited mobility lifestyle---it's a trait that Nature won't bother spending much energy on when other things are more vital to survival. Very large insectoids, assuming that means no bone-like skeletal structure [in line with their outward chitinous appearance] will fail the test of physics and strength of materials. But Zoran might be able to "give us six". ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The reason for this is that all of biological development is a "Risks vs. Rewards" game based on whether you are being aided by any given trait in making it far enough to produce more things like you. That's all. You may think that you have a higher or at least more diverse agenda, but Mother Nature doesn't. [That really includes sex, by the way]. That every design is not as good as every other one is most easily shown by our friends the Dolphins. There were no mammals originally in the sea. Mammals developed on land--with legs. They and the whales went to the sea because there was something good for their survival there--probably an underutilized food niche. Their leg-ness was awkward and not particularly valuable. It got in the way of cutting through the water rapidly and was a body element where they could be hurt and killed. As time, and variations proceeded, they got sleeker and sleeker, dumping the useless and dangerous and becoming racers of the oceans. As a largish meat-eating predator, the faster the better. Every such predator has developed the exact same shape. This is true right down to the mathematics of what's best hydrodynamically to cut the water. What chances exist that ET "dolphins" or "sharks" are shaped differently? This "force" is called "Convergent Evolution" and because it smells like a kind of "design" in the universe, it has until recently had a tough road to acceptance among the paranoids. The fact that many LAND animals also show such convergence, indicates how powerful physics, chemistry, and geometry are. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Monsters" randomly pop up in land species all the time. Their "new design" is almost always a loser and that variation quickly disappears. It turns out that since Nature has had such a long time to do this Try-and-Winnow process, most of the stuff we individuals carry around with us is pretty good, at least as far as getting us through reproductive age--which is all Mama Nature cares about--[this is why we age age--why we get senile--why circulatory and cancer-fighting problems usually "wait" until we're past 40.] Nature is not a kindly affectionate Old Girl. She's got her priorities. To accomplish those, she "selects designs" that work, sometimes at surprisingly systemic levels. Look at the graph nearby. Who would have suspected that you could graph all the mammals from mice to whales on a simple math relationship? There are dozens of these relationships discovered by the convergent evolutionists. So, what exactly does this have to do with humanoid form? ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Life almost had to occur in a liquid environment [not too chaotic (gas) and not too uninteractive (solid) ]. Once single-cells proliferated, there becomes an opportunity for some organism to actively seek out and harvest those cells. Bigger single-cell blobs might develop. They're not very efficient. If we are ever going to get anywhere in evolution, and if we're ever going to get anything big enough to have a highly intelligent brain and a technology, we're going to have to develop multicellular organisms. That is probably hard to do--took Earth far longer than simple cells. But where it does happen, there is one superior favored design: [dramatic music, please] The Predatory Tube. No screaming--you're one yourself. This is the thing that allows seek-and-destroy and a type of efficient specialization that Mother Nature has honored by re-evolving over and over again. The predatory tube has important features. It has a front [intake] and a back [exit] end. It has a top and a bottom [a gravitational orientation, because it's not as useful to be rotating around your axis when trying to get lunch]. It has, therefore, a left and a right side. This latter gives all predatory tubes bilateral symmetry [which probably makes embryonic development a lot easier and organisms, when we look at them, "recognizable" as something we're familiar with]. You and I are predatory tubes-- sorry there's no more polite way to say it. But it is a great put-down when used in the right circumstances--admit it, you know some VERY predatory tubes. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
All of "us", fish, insects, people are predatory tubes. So will be ET [even octopi are, by the way]. But there's more to humanoid form than that. Most especially, what about limbs? In a fluid environment the fluid rules. Bony, waterflow-blocking appendages aren't a priority. Once you get to a land-dwelling lifestyle, legs really make a difference. When the tubular fish first heaved up on land, they weren't very efficient. The only way they could make it was if another food supply, unused was already there. Plants and small life no doubt. It was the fins of the proto-land-animals which developed into legs on earth. On Tau-Ceti, who knows--but they'll have to come from somewhere or we'll go nowhere with our hoped-for advanced technology maker. "They" like us will have limbs. But 4? I believe that this number is required. The reasons are these: unless you're snakelike [and your lack of hands as a snake makes technology tough], you need at least four legs to give you stability and speed. Odd numbers of legs are unlikely. Why? Because you're bilaterally symmetric [notice that when an Earth organism needed an extra limb it had to develop it as a tail or a weird nose--odd "regular" limbs aren't in the plan]. Two is too few for best predatorial stability. Six is fine, but not worth it in the "risks vs. rewards" game. Why? You can do well with four, and two more don't add much and just give you more places where you can be hert, maimed, killed. But this doesn't make sense, one might reasonably say. The cute little red spider in the picture has eight. Right. Here's how insects and arachnids get away with that. They're small. Their limbs don't need to be attached super-strongly as ours do, and can therefore be "discarded" when a bad guy grabs them there or some other damage comes. You and I can't just toss off a leg. No advanced big lifeform will be able to do so. There's no "random accident" in the fact that all big land dwellers except snakes have four limbs. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Intelligence is important to survival. Information to feed that intelligence is important. There is no source of detailed and "distant" information more rich than light. To get that information, sooner or later the four-limbed predatory tube will "stand up". [ watch the squirrels and even the birds stretching their necks---where's the predator? where's the food? where's my mate?]. The four limbed predatory tube, standing upright with useful manipulative hands [again, watch the squirrels, they're on their way] IS the humanoid form. It's not arbitrary nor accidental. It's forced by the environment(s). Biologists like George Gaylord Simpson and Stephen Gould and even Carl Sagan argued, fooled by their fears, that any weird thing imaginable was lurking out there in the galaxy. These meat-heads, smart as they were, so emphasized chance and "unlikeliness" that the creationists turned their gun around on them. The argument was made, even by a scientist like Fred Hoyle [he was angling for panspermia to explain this], that by their own odds, life could never have happened---nor any of its well-designed critters. Thus Kansas was inundated with a blizzard of examples pretty impressive, if you bought the flawed view of evolution pushed by the frightened materialists themselves. It would have been amusing if it wasn't so important. Anyone wanting to read the curative for all this, including the prevalence of humanoid form, should read the new star of convergent biology Simon Conway Morris' book, Life's Solution. You'll be instantly smarter than most of the biologists. It's too bad that physical laws do not allow a flying elephant, nor any number of neat but preposterous things. Much is still possible in diversity, but it will be built off tried and true basic designs. Zoran for instance might well have six fingers to slap hands with, or four. As far as there being no other humanoid forms "out there", we can say to Simpson, Gould, and Sagan [who are currently looking around shell-shocked in the afterlife they didn't believe was there], "Compute it again, Sam."


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